Monday, March 31, 2014

Be Careful Lest You Sin

My Utmost For His Highest
‘If we are not attentive, we will be completely unaware of the source of the discernment God has given us, becoming critical of others and forgetting that God says, […] Be careful that you don’t become a hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right with God before you worship Him yourself.’ CHAMBERS

When you see another believer doing things that ought not be done, you have a choice in how your respond. You can judge them for it … which we are told not to do … you can criticize them for it, another form of judgment . .. which we are told not to do … or you can acknowledge their sin  and pray for them.  But in that we should not accommodate it by pretending that it did not happen or that is somehow permissible. Nor does this mean that there are no consequences for the sins committed. The issue here is about how we respond to what others do.

We must be careful that in our response to others, we do not sin ourselves.  You know when that happens because your heart will tell you.  The feelings that well up inside you are a little bit like anger … it is a hardness .. there is no love for the person … only condemnation for what they have done … it is at that point that we sin ourselves.  How we respond to others is always to be with a view to see them repent and turn to God.  So pray for each other.  God did not make you an “in-speck-tor”  that you should be removing the specks from other people’s eyes. He made you an intercessor so that you could intercede on their behalf.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

How Is Your Love Level?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5). Instead of worshiping God, we recite speeches to God about how prayer is supposed to work. Are we worshiping God or disputing Him when we say, “But God, I just don’t see how you are going to do this”? This is a sure sign that we are not worshiping. When we lose sight of God, we become hard and dogmatic. We throw our petitions at His throne and dictate to Him what we want Him to do. We don’t worship God, nor do we seek to conform our minds to the mind of Christ. And if we are hard toward God, we will become hard toward other people.’ CHAMBERS
We must be careful that we don’t show disrespect toward God.  It is not blatant disrespect .. it is benign disrespect … we show it by ignoring Him.  Jesus said “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) … that suggests a primary relationship … one like no other … The great commandment (Matthew 22:37-39) also suggests we are to have the same relationship.  If we love God in that way we will be devoted to Him.  We will seek Him out … we will want to talk to Him .. and give Him honor.  But if we fail to do that … if we become distant .. too busy with life … then we admit that we really don’t love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength.  It is not hard to tell. And when that happens, we can’t fulfill the second greatest commandment .. love our neighbor … you see our capacity to love others is a reflection of the level of love we have for God.
We would prefer that not be the case.  We would prefer that we could pick and choose who we like and don’t like.  Who we praise and who we criticize.  Who we draw close to and who we push away.  That thinking should be a flag that our love for God is waning.  That we have lost focus.  The love for self has pushed its way up to prominence once again.  When that happens we need to repent and turn back to God …
Father, in heaven, blessed is your name.  Your kingdom come.  You will be done on earth … in my life ,, as it is in heaven.  Give me what I need today.  Forgive my sins in the same way I am willing to forgive others.  Lead me away from temptation.  Deliver me from evil. Because all the kingdom and power and glory is yours … it always has been and always will be  … Amen.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Is Your Faith Dead In Deed Or Dead Indeed

My Utmost For His Highest
‘[The] battle is not against sin, difficulties, or circumstances, but against being so absorbed in our service to Jesus Christ that we are not ready to face Jesus Himself at every turn. The greatest need is not facing our beliefs or doctrines, or even facing the question of whether or not we are of any use to Him, but the need is to face Him.’ CHAMBERS
The problem we face is not in the doing but in the being.  No amount of serving will make you spiritually right.  One of the challenges for many Christians is confusing doing good works and being spiritually right with God.  When we were in Mississippi, very often volunteers would come with the view “I have taken time away from work and/or family to come to Mississippi.  I came here to work, so let’s go to work so I can go home.”  I would try to refocus them on the spiritual context of what they had come to do.  Some did not see the connection.  Doing good things for others should be a result of our relationship with God through Christ, not the sum total of who we are as Christians. The rich young ruler did good things for others, but he had not given his heart to God.  Just as we are saved by grace through faith and not works, the quality of our life and the value of our works depends upon our relationship with our Lord. Although James was right to say “faith without works is dead”, if your Christian experience is based upon works alone, then you may very well have put your faith in your works and not in Jesus.  In the one case your faith may be dead in deed, but in the other your faith is dead indeed.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, March 28, 2014

You Do Your Part and Jesus Will Do His

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Are you debating whether you should take a step of faith in Jesus, or whether you should wait until you can clearly see how to do what He has asked? Simply obey Him with unrestrained joy. When He tells you something and you begin to debate, it is because you have a misunderstanding of what honors Him and what doesn’t. Are you faithful to Jesus, or faithful to your ideas about Him? Are you faithful to what He says, or are you trying to compromise His words with thoughts that never came from Him? “Whatever He says to you, do it ” (John 2:5)’  CHAMBERS
John 2:5 was direction from Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the wedding where Jesus turned the water into wine.   What she said is echoed through the New Testament … “Do what Jesus says to do”  Living in obedience to the living Word is fundamental to living by faith.  What Jesus says to do requires faith.  They needed wine, He said go get water. They did and He did something supernatural.  They did their part and He did His part.  That is all God is asking us to do .. (Mark 9:7) “This is my Son, listen to Him.” Jesus will bring you to a point of decision .. “Do I obey him or do what makes sense to the world?” I say, let’s go and get some water …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Swimming In The Deep End

My Utmost For His Highest
‘A higher state of mind and spiritual vision can only be achieved through the higher practice of personal character. If you live up to the highest and best that you know in the outer level of your life, God will continually say to you, “Friend, come up even higher.” There is also a continuing rule in temptation which calls you to go higher; but when you do, you only encounter other temptations and character traits.’
What we consider to be walking by faith at one point in our lives is quite different in another .. or at least it should be.  As I read Chambers’ devotion I had the image of people in a swimming pool in my mind.  At one end .. the shallow end, there is a small child with water wings and goggles being held on to by an anxious mother.  The baby is having a great time after overcoming the initial fear of even being in the water.  And in his mind, the child believes he is swimming.  Clearly the child is not, but it won’t be long and the water wings will be left behind.  There are those who have gone out a little deeper.  Their feet sometimes don’t touch the bottom, but they are never far from the side of the pool and safety.  And then there are those in the deep end.  They swim and dive as if they were meant to be fish not humans.  Their fear is gone, but they respect the water and its dangers.
So it is with our walk of faith.  God leads us and with each step the “water gets deeper” .. more faith is required .. the danger of temptation is stronger … the need to trust Him more is greater … But some are never willing to take their water wings off.  They are content to paddle around in the shallow end .. and marvel at those who are swimming at the other end of the pool, thinking “that could never be me”.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)  Is God calling you to go deeper with Him?  God will not take you someplace and then forsake you … He will never leave you … So what are you waiting for?  Take those water wings off and go for a swim … to the glory of God.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Who Are You Kidding?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘[…] Purity is the result of continued spiritual harmony with God. We have to grow in purity. Our life with God may be right and our inner purity unblemished, yet occasionally our outer life may become spotted and stained. […]. If the outer level of our spiritual life with God is impaired to the slightest degree, we must put everything else aside until we make it right. […] God makes us pure by an act of His sovereign grace[…] It is through our bodily life coming in contact with other people and other points of view that we tend to become tarnished. Not only must our “inner sanctuary” be kept right with God, but also the “outer courts” must be brought into perfect harmony with the purity God gives us through His grace. Our spiritual vision and understanding is immediately blurred when our “outer court” is stained. If we want to maintain personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ, it will mean refusing to do or even think certain things. And some things that are acceptable for others will become unacceptable for us.’ CHAMBERS
We must be careful that we don’t take on the perspective that it doesn’t matter what I do, what I say, what I think, how I treat others … God has purified me through the blood of Jesus.  I have heard many men, in particular, trying to justify their language .. using profanity … as if it does not matter … but out of the heart the mouth speaks … (Proverbs 4:23, Luke 6:45)  we are to let nothing unwholesome – only those things that bring glory to God – come out of our mouths .. What we say reveals what is in our heart, whether we want to believe it or not .... (Ephesians 4:29)  It is really NOT ok.  Or perhaps you harbor a grudge toward someone.  You cannot hate your brother and love God.  Do not become comfortable with .. make excuses for … try to justify your sin … confess it.  (1 John 1:9) I am not the Holy Spirit … it is the Spirit that convicts us of sin … (John 16:8)  I am encouraging you to not deceive yourself into thinking that a little sin is OK … Examine your heart … confess your sin and rest in the power of God so you can live your life in a way the brings honor and glory to Him … In a way that points people to Jesus ….  Today would be a good day …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Will It Take To Make You Happy?

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Yet most of our life is not spent in trying to be consciously obedient, but in maintaining this relationship— being the “friend of the bridegroom.” Christian work can actually be a means of diverting a person’s focus away from Jesus Christ. Instead of being friends “of the bridegroom,” we may become amateur providences of God to someone else.’ CHAMBERS
Recently a man by the name of Wallace Turnbull was awarded the Haitian Order of Honor and Merit by President Martelly for the work Pastor Turnbull had done in Haiti on behalf of the Haitian people for 75 years.  Pastor Turnbull’s response was "It's not me you should thank, but the Lord. If I die now, I will die happy because I lived in Haiti and I lived for Haiti." His joy is in his fulfilling the great commandments (Matthew 22:37-39). We must be careful that we don’t seek to find recognition and acceptance from others through the work that God puts out hand to.  Pastor Wallace, rightly so, diverted the focus from himself to that One who had called him, equipped him, guided him and sustained him as he walked in obedience to the Lord.
Act 4:13When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”   Let your goal be that when people see you .. they don’t marvel at your abilities or your sacrifice .. but they take note that you are reflecting the life of your Lord … and you are deflecting the credit and praise back on the One to whom all glory and honor is due.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, March 24, 2014

God's Instrument Of Grace

My Utmost For His Highest
‘When you see a person who is close to grasping the claims of Jesus Christ, you know that your influence has been used in the right direction. And when you begin to see that person in the middle of a difficult and painful struggle, don’t try to prevent it, but pray that his difficulty will grow even ten times stronger, until no power on earth or in hell could hold him away from Jesus Christ. Over and over again, we try to be amateur providences in someone’s life. We are indeed amateurs, coming in and actually preventing God’s will and saying, “This person should not have to experience this difficulty.” […] Listen intently with your entire being until you hear the Bridegroom’s voice in the life of another person. And never give any thought to what devastation, difficulties, or sickness it will bring. Just rejoice with godly excitement that His voice has been heard. You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it.’ CHAMBERS
A pastor once said “People don’t know Jesus is all they need until Jesus is all they have.”  Has the Lord taken you to a place of desperation … where in the end all you could do was look up?  You weren’t going to die, but you may have wished you would, rather than deal with the calamity in your life.  But it was at that point, in that place where you met Jesus.  What if someone had stepped in and had given you relief a moment sooner.  They meant well, but they did not have the spiritual sensitivity to see that God was at work in your life.  This is not to suggest that you should stand back and let people struggle … but that is contrary to the Word of God … Matthew 25, 2 Corinthians 1.
The assumption here is that you are spiritually connected .. in tune with God … and you see a person struggling … you know that you should step in or not … in either case you are God’s instrument of Grace.  Relieving someone of the consequence of their sin is not necessarily helping them.  It may be that you don’t want to see them struggle … but they must … and your part is that you join with them .. sharing in the pain .. and sorrow .. and ultimately the joy when they turn to Jesus.  Ministering to someone at the point of their need brings glory to God … that ministry may be, stepping back and waiting on God or it may be giving them a cup of water … If you want to know how to know the difference .. look up.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Excuses, Excuses, We Make Them Every Day

My Utmost For His Highest
‘It is the simple, dreary day, with its commonplace duties and people, that smothers the burning heart— unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus.’ CHAMBERS
Our attitude toward life … other people … world events … how we respond … depends upon our spiritual disposition.  We have two natures … when I was a child, I watched cartoons that depicted someone with an angel (the Spirit) on one shoulder and a devil (the flesh) on the other.  Each was trying to get the attention of the character to influence his behavior. Every day is a struggle.  We know how we should respond to life, but before we know it, our flesh has taken over.  Really what it boils down to is what you set your mind to.
(Philippians 4:4-9) “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
If you believe that you can’t help yourself … you are believing the truth …. Flesh cannot conquer flesh … but Spirit can.  If you have a problem with anger .. envy … lust for possessions …… speaking poorly of others … what ever (read Galatians 5:19-21) it means that you are struggling with your flesh … your old nature … living in subjection to your flesh is not the life you have been called to .. empowered for … But the Christian who has their mind set on Christ … their response to life is quite different .. (read Galatians 5:22-23) Don’t make excuses for your flesh and its desires … Turn to Jesus and live.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, March 21, 2014

If You Are In Christ then

My Utmost For His Highest
‘“. . . it is no longer I who live . . . .” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.
“. . . and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh-the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God . . . .” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits-a faith that comes only from the Son of God. CHAMBERS
What does it mean to live in the reality of our new birth in Christ … (Galatians 2:20).  “It is no longer I who live” … That means there must have been a death ..  a passing … from your old life to a new life …. “Old things are passed away” (2 Corinthians 5:17) If you are dead, that means that you are unresponsive to the things around you … you can’t feel them .. see them … hear them … smell them … it is as if they don’t exist, although they do  .. because you are dead to them.  Oh, if that were only true … the reality is for most of us that we struggle to ignore that which we are supposed to be dead to … In the Princess Bride … my children must have watched that movie a ba-zillion times!  Fortunately for Westley, he was only “mostly dead” .. not quite dead … he could hear and even squeak out a response … unfortunately, that is how we, as Christians, are towards this world … We are still connected to this world … we are only “mostly dead” towards it.  And that little bit of life towards the world, wreaks havoc in our spiritual lives.   My point to you, is don’t be content with that … don’t accept love for the things of this world as if it is unavoidable ,, inescapable …. this new life you have in Christ is lived by faith and not by human effort …  Forget what is behind and press on in your faith …
“This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through. My home is way up somewhere beyond the blue”  “Oh Lord, Oh Lord you know, I have no friend like you … and I don’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Getting Your Heart In Tune

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Think of the last thing you prayed about-were you devoted to your desire or to God? Was your determination to get some gift of the Spirit for yourself or to get to God? “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). The reason for asking is so you may get to know God better. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).’ CHAMBERS
James 4:2-3 “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
What do you pray about?  Isn’t it OK to ask God for help? Yes, of course.  So what is the problem?  When the motive of our prayer is to satisfy the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes, or the pride of life. (1 John 2:16).  When we pray for those things that we love more than God and then ask God to give them to us.  It is like a teenager asking their parents for some money to buy alcohol so they can get drunk and skip school.  Can you imagine how you would feel?  But, we often do the same thing with God.
Psalm 37:4 is one our life verses.  We have found that as we seek God, He changes what our hearts desire .. what we are passionate about.  We get in tune with God.  A friend and I were leading a church service some time back.  I was preaching and he was leading worship.  He had brought his young sons with him. Unbeknownst to him, while we were speaking … one of the sons detuned his guitar.  When it was time to sing … my friend struck the first chord, but the sound we expected was not the sound that came out of the guitar … but a very strange noise was lofting through the church.  That is how it is when our hearts are out of tune with God.  Before beginning a concert, the musicians make certain that their instruments are in tune … they are ready …. That is what we should do every day … we need to tune up .. not just start playing our song of life.  Hey the concert is about to start … are you ready?
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Can Do All Things .. Endure All Things .. Overcome All Things

My Utmost For His Highest
‘[…]  separation is exhibited in the life of Abraham by his separation from his country and his family. When we think of separation today, we do not mean to be literally separated from those family members who do not have a personal relationship with God, but to be separated mentally and morally from their viewpoints. This is what Jesus Christ was referring to in Luke 14:26. Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason—a life of knowing Him who calls us to go. Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world.’ CHAMBERS
Having faith does not mean that everything will go well … that our bank account will always have a positive balance … that we won’t get sick … that  people will always be nice to you.  What it means is that when none of those things happen .. you will press on … that you will not lose hope … that you will not worry about your life … that although you may endure much physical or emotional pain … the God of all comfort will comfort yo in that affliction.  Hardship is a relative term … for some it is not having air conditioning .. for others it is not having food to eat for a day or more.  And for others, it is facing terminal cancer .. or the loss of a husband or wife … Paul said that he had learned to be content no matter what was happening to him … whatever his circumstances were … (Philippians 4:11-13)  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
You see it is our faith in God that brings us contentment .. that gives us stamina … that assures us of the hope of glory …  that is our ever present help in time of need … Are you struggling today?  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Drink from the Living Water … drink deeply and be refreshed in your spirit.  You, my friend, can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Best Way To Start Your Day

My Utmost For His Highest
‘God’s perspective is that through His promises I will come to recognize His claim of ownership on me. For example, do I realize that my “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” or am I condoning some habit in my body which clearly could not withstand the light of God on it? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God formed His Son in me through sanctification, setting me apart from sin and making me holy in His sight (see Galatians 4:19). But I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. God instructs us even in the smallest details of life. And when He brings you conviction of sin, do not “confer with flesh and blood,” but cleanse yourself from it at once (Galatians 1:16). Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk.’ CHAMBERS
1 Corinthians 6:19-20  “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
As you start your day, start it with this attitude.
“I am a child of God. He has called me to a new life.  This is a life He has given me, not one I have taken. He is my Source, my Wisdom, my Life.  The greatest thing I can do today is to love Him with all my heart .. the second is to walk in obedience to His Word so that He will be glorified through my life.  There is no place for pride … for having things my own way … but I must lay my old life and its desires down … offering myself and everything about me to God, the Father. I cannot do this on my own, but must trust in the power of Christ in me.”
Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Monday, March 17, 2014

When Character Does Not Equal Reputation That Equals Hypocrisy

My Utmost For His Highest
‘I must learn to relate everything to the primary goal, maintaining it without interruption. My worth to God publicly is measured by what I really am in my private life. Is my primary goal in life to please Him and to be acceptable to Him, or is it something less, no matter how lofty it may sound?’ CHAMBERS
There is something called the Westminster Shorter Catechism .. it is very old .. written about 1648 … it was used in England and Scotland to teach new converts about the Christian faith.  It is a series of questions and answers.  The first is this … “Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”  Our primary goal is to bring glory to God.  Some believe that they can have a thought life and private life that does not honor God and a public life that does honor God.  In other words, I can think about things that are contrary to the Word of God … and behave in ways that are contrary to God, privately, that no one but my family sees … and then put on a new face when I am around others . .especially other Christians and most especially when I am at church.  You know the word for that … hypocrisy.  Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with our whole being … at all times … We are to be the same person, no matter where we are … alone, with family, with unsaved people, with Christians.
If you are struggling with this in your life, it is because you need to draw close to God.  Having a form of godliness to show the world bears no fruit … you have nothing to offer … except death … Do not continue to deceive yourself … Paul said “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  (Galatians 1:10) It is in us that we should want acceptance … that we need to be loved ….. but that desire was planted by God so we would turn to Him .. not the world.  Stop trying to live your new life in your own strength … it is impossible and the only possible outcome is failure and hypocrisy.  Instead rest in the salvation that you have received through Jesus Christ and the new life that He offers.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ― John Wooden
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Don't Let Sin Take Root

My Utmost For His Highest
‘[…] walk in the knowledge of the holiness He has given you. Tolerating a wrong attitude toward another person causes you to follow the spirit of the devil, no matter how saintly you are. One carnal judgment of another person only serves the purposes of hell in you. Bring it immediately into the light and confess, “Oh, Lord, I have been guilty there.” If you don’t, your heart will become hardened through and through. One of the penalties of sin is our acceptance of it. […] No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing certain things, and the penalty of sin is that you gradually get used to it, until you finally come to the place where you no longer even realize that it is sin. No power, except the power that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit, can change or prevent the inherent consequences of sin.’  CHAMBERS
We must be so very careful.  Our flesh can deceive us. People do or say bad and hurtful things to others .. maybe to you …  and it seems reasonable that they should be criticized or treated in a like manner .. punished even. So we hold on to that attitude towards them and before you know it, it has taken root in us.  We justify it in our minds and perhaps to others, not realizing that it has significantly affected our spiritual condition … and the way we relate to other people.  Our heart becomes hard … The Word of God is clear about how we, as Christians, are to respond to people .. irrespective of how they respond to us … love your enemies .. pray for those who despitefully use you  (Matthew 5:44) … if someone strikes you on one cheek .. turn the other (Luke 6:29) … these verses – actually commands - are about attitudes toward people that are not nice … When we don’t do what the Word says … sin takes root in our hearts … and over time we come to the place where we accept it or think .. that is just the way we are … If that is you, read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 to refresh your thinking.
A word of caution … we cannot do anything that the Lord commands in our own strength .. but only by the power of the Spirit in us.  So please don’t think .. ok, I must try harder. Trying harder will not work … it will only result in failure … How you treat others is reflection of the level of love you have in your heart for God.  If you have an obedience problem, it’s because you have a love problem.  The first step to having the right attitudes is to start with the Lord …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

When Our Light Begins To Flicker

My Utmost For His Highest
‘At the beginning of our life with Jesus Christ, we were sure we knew all there was to know about following Him. It was a delight to forsake everything else and to throw ourselves before Him in a fearless statement of love. But now we are not quite so sure. Jesus is far ahead of us and is beginning to seem different and unfamiliar ..’ CHAMBERS
The day a person yields their life to Jesus is a glorious .. emotional .. day.  The door to spiritual revelation and understanding  .. was closed and locked until God put His Spirit in us … the Teacher and Helper … But soon we come face to face with the reality that we still live in a sin-filled world.  Although we are saved from the penalty of sin we are still tempted by it and we still feel the sting of the consequences of sin .. our personal sin and the sins of others.  The light can fade to a flicker if we are not careful … we can find ourselves resolved to living like the world and walking after Jesus.  Where we once walked at His side, we now have fallen behind and only get an occasional glimpse of Jesus over the heads of the crowd around us.  This new life requires determination and faith. It is too easy to fall behind.  Spend time with the Lord … Guard your heart.  Remember that you are a spiritual creature and you have been called to higher ground.
“I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining every day; Still praying as I’m onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
My heart has no desire to stay, Where doubts arise and fears dismay; Though some may dwell where those abound, My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
I want to live above the world, Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled; For faith has caught the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground.
Lord, lift me up and let me (stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” Higher Ground.  Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1898
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Friday, March 14, 2014

God Has Made A Way

My Utmost For His Highest
‘There is no power within the human soul itself that is capable of breaking the bondage of the nature created by yielding. For example, yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust, and although you may hate yourself for having yielded, you become enslaved to that thing. (Remember what lust is— “I must have it now,” whether it is the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind.) No release or escape from it will ever come from any human power, but only through the power of redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One who can break the dominating power in your life, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ.’ CHAMBERS
There used to be a commercial on TV by JG Wentworth where people are yelling .. “It’s my money and I want it now!” It all had to do with people who are receiving money every month or every year or at some time in the future.  All they had to do was sign their rights over to the entire sum to that company and that company would give them a one-time payment of a portion of the money immediately.  The commercial spoke to the love of money .. lust .. and the demand for immediate gratification.  Immediate tax refunds are another example … people will sacrifice a large portion of their tax refund to have the money now and not have to wait.  So it is with other temptations in life … the idea is that somehow whatever it is that we want at that moment, we can have and, at that moment, we really don’t care if there are consequences … so long as we have satisfaction  … now.  That is lust .. and it is powerful … (1 John 2:15-17) “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
How do you stand against it?  (1 Corinthians 10:13) “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  God has made a way for us to deal with temptation .. with lust ... when it comes upon us … and it will .. it will come out of nowhere like a lion springing on its prey.
Psalm 119:11Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You.”  Sin will keep you from the Bible and the Bible will keep you from sin. And that is the Truth!
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It Starts In The Heart

My Utmost For His Highest
‘Beware of talking about surrender if you know nothing about it. In fact, you will never know anything about it until you understand that John 3:16 means that God completely and absolutely gave Himself to us. In our surrender, we must give ourselves to God in the same way He gave Himself for us— totally, unconditionally, and without reservation. The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him.’ CHAMBERS
Jesus said, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) Jesus set the example when He came from heaven and died on the cross for us.  Are you there or do you come short of that calling?  Romans 12:1-2 says to offer yourself as a living sacrifice … you don’t have to die physically, but you must die to self … it says do not be conformed to this world … do not seek after the things of this world … what it has to offer you as if that is where you will find your peace, happiness, security … but be transformed … Don’t deceive yourself by thinking you can do both ….. You cannot pick up the cross until you lay down your devotion to the things of this world … that starts in the heart ….
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Everything is Spiritual

My Utmost For His Highest
‘If we do not apply our beliefs about God to the issues of everyday life, the vision God has given us will never be fulfilled. The only way to be obedient to “the heavenly vision” is to give our utmost for His highest— our best for His glory. This can be accomplished only when we make a determination to continually remember God’s vision. But the acid test is obedience to the vision in the details of our everyday life— sixty seconds out of every minute, and sixty minutes out of every hour, not just during times of personal prayer or public meetings.’ CHAMBERS
When you were born again … your reality changed …. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 … “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” Every day is a spiritual day.  It is not a natural life that you have that is sprinkled with spiritual moments.  John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” You should not live like you are like unbelievers … you deny the truth of God when you do.  As Christians we must see everything with a spiritual understanding … see things the way our Father does.  When you do, you will react to life in a much different way. So my encouragement to you …
“Rise up …. Have done with lesser things .. give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the king of kings! Rise up .. the Lord is coming .. rise up .. this is the day .. rise up …”  and give God the glory by the way you live …
Bondye Beni Ou (God Bless You)